Did you know that it takes around 400 cocoa beans of one pound of chocolate? (*)
That’s a lot, right? Well, it’s worth it if you’re a chocolate lover!
But suppose you want to help save on cocoa consumption. In that case, you’re looking for a chocolate substitute to help satisfy your sweet cravings without triggering any allergies or affecting your diet, and you need to find the best chocolate substitute.
Read on to find out what your options are!
- What is Chocolate?
- What are the Different Types of Chocolates?
- Why Replace Chocolate?
- The 4 Chocolate Substitutes for the Sweet Tooth
- Wrapping It Up
What is Chocolate?
We all know chocolate, but how much do we know it?
Don’t get fooled.
Not all products with chocolate flavor are real chocolate.
Fact: Real chocolate is made with cocoa mass and cocoa butter—two ingredients harvested from the cocoa bean. These are then mixed with sugar and sometimes added with milk, as with white chocolate.
In certain products with chocolate flavor, chocolate coating and not real chocolate are used. The cocoa butter is replaced with vegetables to make the chocolate coating, while cocoa powder is used in place of cocoa mass.
Between the two, real chocolate offers a better mouth feel and taste than chocolate coating.
What are the Different Types of Chocolates?
Before exploring the different chocolate substitutes, let us first examine the different types of chocolates. Here they are:
1. Milk Chocolate
According to the FDA’s definition, milk chocolate contains 12% milk and 10% chocolate liquor and sugar and added cocoa butter.
Due to its dairy content, milk chocolate is considered softer, so it melts easier. In addition, the added dairy makes this alternative sweeter and less bitter than the other types.
Pro Tip: Since milk chocolates melt quickly, it also works well on baked goods, especially cookies. However, it can become too sweet, so use sparingly. You can also try mixing them with dark chocolate to balance its sweetness when baking cookies.
2. White Chocolate
Yes, white chocolate is different from milk chocolate. That’s because white chocolate doesn’t contain any chocolate liquor. Instead, it’s made of cocoa butter, milk solids, and sugar. Because of its content, it doesn’t meet the FDA’s definition of chocolate.
Regardless, it remains one of the best chocolate substitutes as it can mimic the chocolate’s creamy texture when melted.
3. Dark Chocolate
Okay, fine. Dark chocolate is still technically chocolate, but you need to hear us out.
First of all, dark chocolate is about 70% cacao. As a rule of thumb, the higher the cacao content, the lesser sugar it contains. Because of this, dark chocolate has an intense chocolate flavor minus the sweetness.
Fun Fact: The darker the chocolate, the higher its cacao content is.
Second, it has high antioxidants to give you plenty of health benefits, including better blood flow and improved blood pressure, reducing the risk of heart disease, and enhancing brain function. (*)
But there’s one thing you need to consider when using this: its bitter taste. So you may need to add more sugar in some recipes to counterbalance its bitterness.
4. Sweet Chocolate, Semisweet Chocolate, and Bittersweet Chocolate
We’ve compiled all these three types in one category because they’re all the same. These only differ in the amounts of chocolate liquor and sugar they contain.
The chocolate liquor content of semi-sweet and sweet chocolates is lower (between 15% to 35%), while their sugar content is higher. Among the three, these two are the most versatile types as they are often used for baking and snacking purposes.
On the other hand, bittersweet chocolate has the highest cocoa content—around 35%, so it’s often used in recipes wherein the chocolate flavor should be the most prominent.
5. Unsweetened Chocolate
Made exclusively with cacao solids and cacao butter, this type of chocolate doesn’t contain any amount of sugar. Because of this, it’s too bitter about being eaten on its own.
It’s also commonly called baking chocolate because it’s often used in baked goods like brownies, cookies, and cakes.
Why Replace Chocolate?
Why replace chocolate when they are already the best thing in the world? Aside from running out of stocks, there are plenty of reasons you need to replace chocolate. Here are some of them:
- Vegan Diet: Since most chocolate products contain dairy, chocolates are not suitable for people on a vegan diet.
- Cocoa Allergy: This may not be that common, but some people are allergic to cocoa—the main ingredient of chocolate.
- Lactose Intolerance: If lactose intolerant, eating chocolate will lead to gastric upset, bloating, and diarrhea.
The 4 Chocolate Substitutes for the Sweet Tooth
Do you want to bake something but don’t have a stock of chocolates at home? Or are you looking for a healthier alternative to chocolate? Well, here are some great substitutions that you need to know about:
1. Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
Cocoa powder is the resulting product when you mix all the leftover substances from cocoa bean after the butter has been extracted.
We’re all familiar with what cocoa powder is, but you may not know it: it’s low-calorie and has zero cholesterol, fats, and sugar. More than that, it’s also rich in antioxidants.
How to Substitute:
For semi-sweet chocolate: 3 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder + 3 tbsp melted butter or margarine
For unsweetened chocolate: 3 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder + 1 tbsp melted butter or margarine
2. Cacao Nibs
These are the cacao beans themselves, roasted before being broken down into smaller pieces.
To put it simply, they are the least processed form of cocoa. As a result, they taste precisely like unsweetened chocolate—only in smaller bite-size forms.
How to Substitute:
You can use this the same way you would use unsweetened chocolate. You just need to grind it to powder.
You may not be familiar with carob. You may haven’t heard about this tropical pod yet. Well, this is harvested from the Mediterranean.
To prepare this, its pulp is roasted then ground into powder. Despite being low calorie, low fat, and vegan-friendly, chocolate substitute tastes just like cocoa powder, so many people prefer using it.
How to Substitute:
Use the same amount of carob with the amount of chocolate the recipe calls for. It’s best used for cookies, ganache, brownies, sauces, and marinades.
4. Almond Butter + Cocoa
If you’re looking for a low-carb substitute, try replacing cocoa butter with almond butter. This high-protein butter is an excellent source of essential fatty acids and will keep you feeling full for longer.
Pro Tip: While it has the same buttery consistency, almond butter has a slightly different flavor than cocoa butter. When choosing which dishes you’ll use it for, it’s essential to keep its nutty flavor in mind.
How to Substitute:
Simply mix ½ tbsp of almond butter with ½ tsp of cocoa powder.
1. What tastes like chocolate but is not chocolate?
There are a few different things that can taste like chocolate but are not technically chocolate. One is a carob, which is made from the pulp of the Carob tree. It has a slightly sweet and earthy flavor that is often used as a substitute for chocolate. Another option is to use cocoa butter instead of chocolate in recipes, as it has a similar flavor profile. Lastly, there are also a number of artificial chocolate flavors available that can give dishes a similar taste without using any real chocolate.
2. What can I use instead of melted chocolate?
Cocoa powder can be used as a substitute for melted chocolate. When using cocoa powder, you will need to add additional fat, such as butter, to the recipe. Or you could use chocolate syrup or even nut butter!
3. What should I eat if I crave chocolate?
There are a few different things you can do if you’re craving chocolate. One option is to try and find a healthier alternative to satisfy your sweet tooth. This could mean choosing dark chocolate over milk chocolate or choosing chocolate with a high cocoa content. Another option is to indulge in your craving in moderation. This means eating a small amount of the chocolate you’re craving and then stopping. Finally, if you find that you can’t control your cravings, it may be best to avoid chocolate altogether.
Wrapping It Up
Chocolate is the most heavenly piece of food that you can get your hands on. But let’s face it.
There are many instances when consuming chocolate may not be the best idea—if you have allergies, high blood sugar, or are on a diet.
Whatever your reason is, you’re lucky that there are a few chocolate substitutes that you can use for your desserts!